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Covering marine risks for the America's Cup

Crombie Lockwood's marine insurance broker Paul Gemmell was involved in arranging comprehensive cover for clients on and off the water at the 36th America’s Cup regatta...

While the focus was firmly on what was happening on the water during the 36th America’s Cup regatta, Crombie Lockwood Marine Broking Specialist, Paul Gemmell was busy working with a number of clients, from businesses associated with the wider team base infrastructure, to race fans bringing their own vessels back to Auckland for the event.

“The scope of Crombie Lockwood’s marine specialism is very broad, from commercial charter vessels to fishing vessels, marine liabilities, marinas, ports etc.” says Paul. “We also have a number of clients that built the marine infrastructure where the bases housed the America’s Cup boats, plus the nearby superyacht berths.”

Boat moored at Viaduct Harbour

Recreational vessel ownership is high in boat-loving New Zealand, and with larger boats comes more complex risks.

Cover for land-based risks

The America’s Cup regatta brought with it intensified construction, redevelopment, and sheer numbers of public spectators into the Wynyard Quarter precinct in downtown Auckland. Given the challenges experienced by business during 2020, the America’s Cup delivered plenty of much-needed opportunity to both the hospitality and marine industries. With that opportunity, however, also came risk.

“Clients involved in infrastructure work needed contract works insurance and public liability insurance – a lot of public liability policies exclude marine work, so we needed to make those as comprehensive as possible,” says Paul. “Beyond race days, a lot of preparation work had to be completed ahead of the event. Existing structures had to be re-piled, and Viaduct Harbour facilities had to be extended due to the number of large superyachts expected to arrive in Auckland for the racing.

“A key client in the event space business had marquees set up alongside one of the team bases. There are key differences between insuring permanent and temporary structures, so insurers need to be comfortable with the structures sitting on the wharf for six months. The client also had to ensure rigorous testing of the structures had been completed, so there would be minimal risk of any marquees blowing away in a big breeze on such an open site.”

Americas Cup view of village

Cover was required for businesses involved in supporting construction and infrastructure work for the regatta.

Cover for vessels returning to New Zealand 

For keen boaties and others able to take time out and follow the international regatta, the 36th America’s Cup enticed many to get out on the water and watch the racing. For some of Paul’s marine brokerage clients, this meant bringing large vessels back from overseas ports for the occasion.

“We help our clients based overseas come back to New Zealand with their vessels, by putting the right insurance policies in place. Whether the vessel is on the back of a container ship, or if the client is bringing it back under their own steam, we need to make sure they’ve got the blue water voyage insured. Putting our clients' minds at ease is a big part of what we do.”

Paul says that large recreational vessel ownership is proportionately high in boat-loving New Zealand, and with larger boats often comes more complex risks. These include having permanent crew aboard superyachts  ie captains, stewards, and engineers etc) covered by comprehensive insurance policies, since any work-related injuries for international crew aren't covered by ACC.

International approach

Through our large international network, Crombie Lockwood has a relationship with many insurers offshore.

“Our parent company Gallagher have staff and offices throughout the world, so to place the right cover on a vessel is a seamless process because we’ve got the right people, the right contacts to broach those different markets,” says Paul.

Marine insurance specialists

"Putting our clients' minds at ease is a big part of what we do."

Paul Gemmell

Marine insurance broker.


Published April 2021